North Schuylkill over Mount Carmel
ASHLAND – Backyard rivalries often produce close and exciting games and there are also the occasional classics. Friday’s Mount Carmel-North Schuylkill game would probably quality as all of the above.
Looking to break a three-game losing streak to North Schuylkill, Mount Carmel raced out to a 20-7 halftime lead with an outstanding first half performance on both sides of the ball. But everything came crashing down for the Red Tornados in the second half as North Schuylkill put together two long drives that together spanned nearly 13 minutes, both producing touchdowns, and when a last-second 38-yard game-winning field goal attempt by Rosalino Mangiapane fell just short, the Red Tornados walked off the field with a disappointing 21-20 loss to the Spartans.
“He’s usually good from about 40-45 yards but he just came up short there,” said Mount Carmel coach John Darrah.
The Red Tornados ran more plays than the Spartans (56-47), outgained them by two yards (296-294) and also had two more first downs (15-13). But 10 of North Schuylkill’s first downs came in the second half as Mount Carmel could not get off the field on third down or stop those drives. North Schuylkill converted five third downs and three fourth downs in the second half.
For North Schuylkill, it was all a part of their game plan. Although the Spartans certainly didn’t plan to be down by 13 at the half after committing three first half turnovers, which turned into 10 points for Mount Carmel, they stuck with their plan to run the ball in the second half
Our game plan was to go spread them out a little in the first half but we really couldn’t get into a rhythm. But we had faith in our line and made a few adjustments and just started pounding the ball in the second half,” said North Schuylkill coach Wally Hall. “This team has something special. They weren’t happy coming into halftime but we didn’t come in yelling as coaches. We just told them to relax and play their game in the second half.”
That game consisted of running the ball and running the ball some more. The Spartans were so effective with running the ball that they only had those two possessions. The first lasted for 5:30 after they had taken over with 9:28 after their defense forced Mount Carmel to a three-and-out on the Red Tornados first second half possession. That drive featured 10 running plays, including eight from Mitch Wagner as well as a 30-yard reception by Scott Grigas. It was capped by a Tyler Elsdon six-yard run on a fullback handoff on a fourth-and-1 from the Mount Carmel 6-yard line.
Mount Carmel got decent field position to start its next drive at its own 39 but was unable to get more than one first down and was forced to punt on the first play of the fourth quarter. The punt was downed at the North Schuylkill 7-yard line and the Spartans took over with 11:49 remaining in the game.
They then put together a 16-play, 91-yard drive that featured all rushes, including nine by Wagner, who finished with 140 yards on 25 carries, 18 of which were in the second half. All runs on that drive were also between the tackles, except the last one, a pitch to Wagner, who went around the right side and into the end zone for a 13-yard score, and the PAT gave North Schuylkill a 21-20 lead with 4:24 remaining.
“We were moving the ball pretty well up the middle off our guards and tackles and our tight end, Mason Geary was blocking very well, too. Eventually it was time to pull and put the ball outside so we figured out which formation to best do it out of and it worked great,” said Hall.
The Red Tornados then took over at their own 34 and were able to drive to the North Schuylkill 21 in 13 plays, which included a 17-yard completion from Tom Reisinger to CJ Reichard on a fourth-and-6 from their own 38 to keep the drive alive. It set up the field goal attempt for Mangiapane, who had nailed two shorter kicks in the first half, but this one came up just short of the crossbar.
“We have 30 guys on our team and in the first half, we were all over the place, laying some good hits, but in the second half we got a few guys banged up and we just wore down – that’s all it is,” said Darrah.
Mount Carmel held the upper hand for most of the first half. Of North Schuylkill’s seven first half possessions, two ended in punts, three ended with turnovers, one in the end of the half and just one with a score.
“I was really happy with the way we played defense in the first half,” said Darrah. “I thought we were very physical but we just wore down as the game went on. There were a lot of third-and-shorts that we couldn’t get off the field on. I thought there were a couple of times we stopped them but they got good spots but those could go either way.”
A 20-yard field goal by Mangiapane gave Mount Carmel a 3-0 lead in the latter half of the first quarter after a drive was stalled at the Spartan 4.
Mount Carmel added to it when John Ayers got loose up the middle for a 32-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter following a Avery Demko interception. Ayers finished with 142 yards on 29 carries.
The Spartans answered right back with a 63-yard touchdown pass from Doug Weist to Scott Grigas to cut it to 10-7 as Grigas slipped behind the defense and outran everyone else to the end zone.
Mount Carmel answered on its ensuing possession, going 80 yards on nine plays in 5:09, capped by a nice pass by Ayers, the former quarterback-turned running back, who took the direct snap and faked a run before stepping back and hitting Reichard for 35 yards down the right sideline.
“We work on that play and John is a good passer and he made it happen when it counted,” said Darrah.
Jack Chapman picked off a Weist pass on the Spartans’ next possession and returned it 29 yards, setting up Mount Carmel at the North Schuylkill 41 with just under two minutes remaining in the half. The Red Tornados capped that drive with another Mangiapane field goal, this one from 26 yards, to go up 20-7.
The game was a quite cleanly-played contest, as there was only one flag all night – a measly five-yard penalty on North Schuylkill for an ineligible man downfield late in the second quarter.
North Schuylkill 21, Mount Carmel 20
Mount Carmel (3-2) 3 17 0 0 – 20
North Schuylkill (5-0) 0 7 7 7 – 21
4:03 – (MC) Rosalino Mangiapane 20-yard field goal, 6-30, 3:26
9:35 – (MC) John Ayers 32-yard run (Mangiapane kick), 1-32, :09
8:37 – (NS) Scott Grigas 63-yard pass from Doug Weist (Trevor Ennis kick), 2-65, :58
3:28 – (MC) CJ Reichard 35-yard pass from John Ayers (Mangiapane kick), 9-80, 5:09
:08 – (MC) Rosalino Mangiapane 26-yard field goal, 8-29, 1:51
3:58 – (NS) Tyler Elsdon 6-yard run (Ennis kick), 11-67, 5:30
4:24 – (NS) Mitch Wagner 13-yard run (Ennis kick), 16-91, 7:25
First downs 15 13
Rushes-net yards 42-182 35-177
Passing yardage 114 117
Passing 8-14-1-1 5-12-1-2
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties-yards 0-0 1-5
RUSHING: Mount Carmel: John Ayers (29-142-1), Shane Weidner (7-28), CJ Reichard (3-7), Tom Reisinger (3-5); North Schuylkill: Mitch Wagner (25-140-1), Tyler Elsdon (5-24-1), Zack Chowansky (4-11), Jaden Leiby (1-2)
PASSING: Mount Carmel: Tom Reisinger (7-13-79-0-1), John Ayers (1-1-35-1-0); North Schuylkill: Doug Weist (5-12-117-1-2)
RECEIVING: Mount Carmel: CJ Reichard (4-84-1), Jack Chapman (2-15), Manus McCracken (2-15); North Schuylkill: Scott Grigas (3-94-1), Braden Heyer (1-13), Aaron Perneta (1-10)
INTERCEPTIONS: Mount Carmel: Jack Chapman, Avery Demko; North Schuylkill: Aaron Perneta
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